Keep Hailsham’s name in boundary changes

HAILSHAM should be included in the revised name of the local parliamentary constituency - that’s the verdict of Wealden District Council.

The council has asked to consider proposed constituency changes in the south east which includes the abolition of the Wealden Parliamentary Constituency.

Councillor Jo Bentley proposed the motion at the December meeting of the full council.

She said, “Hailsham is one of the largest towns in Wealden, and is a focal point for places like Polegate and Pevensey which are also included in the new constituency.

“Calling the constituency Bexhill and Hailsham will help preserve that sense of identity.

“It is unfortunate that Horsebridge - for purposes of the Parliamentary constituency - is part of Hellingly, and to achieve the necessary population count, is separated from Hailsham in this proposal.”

Wealden District Council is responding to nationwide proposals by the Boundary Commission to reduce the number of Parliamentary constituencies in England from 533 to 502 .

Its initial proposal involves the abolition of the Wealden Parliamentary Constituency with a new Uckfield Constituency stretching from Forest Row in the north to Seaford in the south, and a new Weald constituency straddling parts of East Sussex and Kent.

As part of the Boundary Commission’s initial proposals, a new constituency of Bexhill would also include Hailsham and Heathfield.

The proposed changes aim to average out the number of electors in each Parliamentary constituency.

Councillor Nigel Coltman, who seconded the motion, said, “Because Hailsham has much stronger ties with Wealden, my preference would be the status quo.

“But accepting that the Boundary Commission needs to restructure Parliamentary constituencies, it is important that Hailsham is included in the name of a new Bexhill Constituency to build an emotional link.”

Wealden District Council has now responded to the Boundary Commission’s consultation.

The Commission has until October 2013 to report to Parliament with its final proposals for changes to the Parliamentary constituencies.

The Government will then formulate legislation to go before Parliament in time for the 2015 General Election.